Presentation on theme: "Police Legitimacy: A Young People’s Perspective Professor Kevin Haines Dr Mark Hawes Centre for Criminal Justice and Criminology Swansea University."— Presentation transcript:
Police Legitimacy: A Young People’s Perspective Professor Kevin Haines Dr Mark Hawes Centre for Criminal Justice and Criminology Swansea University
Legitimacy is based on: An authority holder treating a subordinate in a manner which is perceived by the subordinate as fair (just or reasonable), such that the subordinate is more likely to (voluntarily) comply with the authority holder and to exit the encounter with a (more) positive view of the authority holder and ‘authority’ itself.
What happens when we get it wrong?
Jeffrey, a year nine pupil, told of one occasion where he considered he was unfairly treated by the police. Jeffrey: They [the police] told us to move on. Somebody got scared. There was about sixty or seventy people in the park and about 12 of them walked through [the park] and there was a guy, an old man, walking his dog. He got scared and he phoned the police. We got moved on. We was all walking away. I turned around… and we stopped a minute and she [a female police officer] pulled me in the car. She grabbed me and I grabbed the fence. I was like, “No, I’m not going anywhere. I didn’t do anything.” So, she started booting me in the back of the leg.
Graham: She did that for no reason at all. He didn’t do anything. Diane: He didn’t actually do nothing. I was there. The result was that Jeffrey was placed in the police vehicle and taken home to his parents. The following day, Jeffrey was sent home early from school because his leg was so badly bruised that he could not walk properly. Diane: You should have seen him the next day… his leg was like proper bruised and everything.
Jeffrey: I got annoyed, so I just thought, ‘I don’t deserve this so, I’m going to do her head in now’. She asked me my name and I told her my name was ‘Peter File’. She wasn’t happy with that. She goes ‘What’s your date of birth?’ I go, ‘Seventh of January’.[Police officer] ‘What Year?’ [Jeffrey] ‘Well every year, innit’. And then she took me home.
“The relationship between how people are treated and their general confidence in the police may be asymmetrical, rather than balanced. Good days may not balance out bad days. At its worst, the police may get essentially no credit for doing a good job, while a bad experience deeply influences people’s views of their performance and even legitimacy.” (Skogan 2006: 100)
Individual vs institutional legitimacy
The young people said that because they do not get on with many police officers, the relationships between the two groups can be very strained. Young people from each year group stated, however, that the relationship they had with the police was dependant on the way that individual officers treated them. Jasmine: Some of them [Police Officers] were like really nice. Some of them just haven’t got time for you. They just treat you like rubbish. Ryan: They just think, ‘Look we’re police officers. We’re better than you. We know right from wrong.’ Ryan: [referring to a PCSO] He’s not very nice, yeah. He’s not very nice. He’s very aggressive…I find him aggressive. Diane: Some police officers are real, you know that word. I’m not going to say it, but they are absolutely… Susan: [interjecting] Pigs. They are pigs. There’s no other word. I don’t like saying that word but…
Diane: On a Saturday night their [the police’s] attitude’s completely different… They’re just like, “You shouldn’t be here”. They’re like lecturing you and being like, really blunt about it. You’re up to no good when you’re sitting there perfectly with a bottle of pop. Lianne: ‘…there’s like....one who comes up there and he’s horrible.’ Jeffrey: ‘He’s a knob. No, he is, seriously. He’s one of the worst police officers God put on this earth. Trust me.’
Ruth: Generally the police are ‘alright’, [but there’s one officer] you see him coming and you walk the other way… He patrols with L, one of the women [female officers]... She’s lovely L is. But, when she’s with him she sort of like, stands back. He like, walks in the street and he’s only got to see you and he gives you the look, and he knows my name, and he comes up and he’s like, “Whatever you’re doing, stop now or I’ll take you home to your mother.” You know, when you see him coming, he gives you the look and he turns the other way and walks. Then he’ll shout at you. He’ll be like, “Stop”. But, I’ve just been to the shop to get my mother bread, but he won’t see it like that. You’re up to something.
Getting legitimacy right
Ruth: Andrew was lovely. Andrew was just funny. He used to sit with us when we used to have dinner and everything. He used to stand outside the gate as well. Graham: He talked to you as well. He let’s you explain your side of the story. Ruth: If Andrew used to…if you used to be drinking up the park or something, Andrew would be like, “Aw come on now, guys” and he’d like take it off you. He’d be like, “We were all young once, but you don’t get caught do you”. Jeffrey: That’s what I think is better. ’Cos if people like come up there bossing you around, you think, who are you to tell me what to do? I know he’s a police officer, like, but if, like, a guy comes up there and he’s having a joke with you, having a laugh round, you think, well he’s an alright guy. Ruth: The more you get told not to do something, the more tempting it is. Chorus: ‘Yeah.’ Jeffrey: If you talk to them like normal people. Ruth: Yeah, like young adults. Graham: If you talk to them like a friend, then you listen to them. Jeffrey: Like Andrew. Ruth: Yeah, like Andrew. Yeah, I’d listen to Andrew.
Conclusions: Legitimacy is dynamic Legitimacy is malleable Legitimacy matters